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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The 2nd Sino-Swiss Healthcare Forum 2017

October 18 2017. Zurich – Your mobile phone is being transformed into a hospital thanks to innovations in technology and big data, according to Peter Ohnemus, Founder and CEO of Dacadoo. Ohnemus was one of a group of healthcare industry entrepreneurs from China and Europe who spoke at the 2nd Sino-Swiss Healthcare Forum 2017, which was held today at UBS headquarters in Zurich. Titled “Innovation: Path to the New World of Healthcare Management” it brought together entrepreneurs and investors from around the world for a day of networking and discussions on the latest industry innovations, challenges, and opportunities for collaboration between Chinese and Swiss companies.

The forum was co-organised by CEIBS and UBS as part of their on-going activities to foster Sino-Swiss business relations. Among the participants were 50 Chinese healthcare entrepreneurs who are in Europe this week for the CEIBS Smart Healthcare Study Tour that combines company visits and case studies utilising CEIBS Real Situation Learning Method™. CEIBS Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship Vincent Chang is leading the Study Tour, and he moderated the panel discussion on Business Model Innovation at today’s forum.

“Innovation is an important part of defining Sino-Swiss relations,” H.E. Yanping Gao, Consul General for the People’s Republic of China in Zurich and the Principality of Liechtenstein, said in her Opening Address at the forum. She also noted that China and Switzerland established an innovative strategic partnership in 2016 to help facilitate collaboration opportunities for science and technology entrepreneurs and enterprises from both countries. China’s rapidly-rising elderly population is one area that she said provides both challenges and opportunities for the global healthcare industry. Though this population has the highest healthcare costs, innovations such as AI and big data, and new technologies can help lower costs and improve patient outcomes, she noted.

Lowering costs and improving patient outcomes is the driving factor behind many of the innovations that were discussed today. “There is a very strong interest for better digital healthcare that can navigate people to a healthier lifestyle,” said Ohnemus. “Twenty-five to 35% of all costs in the healthcare industry can be reduced through digital healthcare.” He was one of several panellists who spoke about how AI, big data, and technological innovations in healthcare are becoming more focused on preventive measures rather than treatment, as encouraging patients to adopt healthier lifestyles reduces the amount of money they will ultimately need to spend on getting well.

However applying technology to solve bottlenecks in the healthcare system is not as easy in developing markets such as China. Mr. Peng Liu, Co-founder of Senyint International Digital Healthcare System explained the resource gap between China’s urban and rural populations, adding that though China is working to develop a system that can provide digital medical records for patients, in rural areas providing basic services is still the primary goal. He also noted that it is difficult to persuade China’s large elderly population to embrace new technologies. “The ultimate goal is to have a system that is not focused on treatment but on prevention,” he said. “The trend is indisputable but the journey will take some time.”

Yet despite the challenges of introducing advanced technologies in healthcare on a large scale, Chinese companies are leading global healthcare innovation in several areas, such as biotech, stem cell, and genetic therapies, said Ms. Jingping Mei, Fosun Pharma Vice President and General Manager of Strategic Planning. She also explained that new government policies have just been announced which will help speed up the process for approval and introduction of new treatments in China by allowing Chinese companies to use trial data collected from other countries. “This will allow Chinese companies to leverage global resources more efficiently,” she said. “Swiss companies can now approach Chinese partners in the early stages of development.”

Another advantage the Chinese market brings to healthcare innovation is that younger Chinese are eager to embrace new technologies, and less concerned about data privacy. “China has, on one hand, a bigger job [to catch up], but on the other hand it can leapfrog in some areas,” said Mr. Zhen Xiao, CEO of Swiss Centers China. “Consumer openness is bigger in China and there are less privacy issues.” Noting the strict regulations in Europe around data privacy, Ohnemus said, “China is becoming the world’s leading force in Big Data while Europe is spending a lot of time discussing data privacy issues,” he said. “Europe is discussing while China is innovating.”

But CEIBS President and Chengwei Ventures Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship Pedro Nueno is optimistic that other countries will catch up. “China is a big opportunity but there are more coming. Everything we do in China can be applied in other markets,” he said.

Frank Niedermann, Head of Wealth Management APAC Switzerland at UBS, noted how events like today’s forum provide important collaboration opportunities for developing the industry. “It was very impressive to see innovative minds from China, Switzerland and other countries coming together to exchange their views on how technological innovation can be used for better healthcare,” he said. “We are proud that together with our partner CEIBS we could make this conference a success.”

Professor Nueno echoed this sentiment in his closing remarks. “This forum was a tremendous learning opportunity,” he said. “The networking was excellent. It is a good opportunity for everyone to evaluate themselves and a way for disruptive theories to be explored.”

The full programme for today’s forum can be found here. Today’s event in Zurich is the fifth forum in Europe that CEIBS has done this year as part of the school’s efforts to provide the political, business and academic communities in China and Europe with an opportunity to share insights on crucial international issues. The CEIBS 3rd Europe Forum 2017 series included events in London, Paris, Munich and Warsaw. Content generated from CEIBS’ Europe events can be found here.

About China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)
CEIBS (www.ceibs.edu) is the leading international business school in mainland China. It is the only business school in Asia to have simultaneously made it to the Financial Times’ top 30 list of MBA, EMBA and Executive Education programmes. CEIBS’ world-class faculty – from both China and abroad – are experts in their fields. Since its launch in 1994, CEIBS has provided management education to over 130,000 executives both at home and abroad. CEIBS has campuses in Shanghai, Beijing, Zurich and Accra and a teaching centre in Shenzhen. Its more than 20,000 alumni are spread across 85 countries around the world.